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Italian PM says training can start in May, no re-start date for Serie A

Image:-Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave professional sports teams the go-ahead on Sunday to start training again in May following the novel coronavirus outbreak but did not set a date for the Series A top-flight football championship to resume.

Mr. Conte, announcing measures to ease the lockdown during a televised address to the country, said that individual training could begin on May 4, when players would still have to adhere to social distancing rules, and that team training could start on May 18.

Italy was the first European country to be severely hit by coronavirus and since March 9, Series A has been suspended. The suspension followed a chaotic fortnight in which the country sought to carry on behind closed doors with matches.

Mr. Conte said the Minister for Sports, Vincenzo Spadafora, would work "intensively" with scientists and sports leaders to ensure safe training.

"Then we'll try to see if they can carry on with the suspended championships. We will only arrive at that conclusion if it is safe to be guaranteed. We do not want to get sick of our athletes, "he said.

"Football is a passion to me," he added. "I initially found it strange, like many Italians, that the championship could be interrupted or suspended but I think even the most ardent fan understands that there was no alternative." The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has already drafted a medical protocol for training.

Each club will form a group of players, technical staff, doctors and physiotherapists who will be tested and then isolated in a summer-style training camp for the start of the training.

There are also plans to donate five COVID test kits for each kit that clubs use to avoid criticizing the fact that football takes much-needed resources from other areas.

There are 12 rounds of matches still to be played in Series A plus a number of outstanding round games. Title holders Juventus are one point above Lazio.